The above cover photo was modified using an image by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash.
It’s 2021, and NFTs are the new hype in the blockchain sphere.
It’s clear that keen interest and growing investments in NFT art and collectibles have created a gold rush movement.
This movement brings in not only more creators but a greater number of NFT marketplaces and platforms for creating NFTs.
During any gold rush, one can dig for gold or start to sell shovels.
But a multi-chain approach to NFTs -- one that frees creators from reliance on Ethereum with their prohibitively high Eth and Gas fees -- is a matter of necessity for driving future growth.
Matters of interoperability and “breaking out of the Ethereum NFT bubble” were very much on the minds of Unique Network founders.
On the Unique Network blog, Alex Mitrovich, Unique CEO wrote:
“The current standards for NFTs — built primarily on Ethereum — are constrained by an extremely limited feature set, an inherent lack of scalability, and slow network speeds. As more and more people create NFTs (and buy them), it’s essential to improve stability and sustainability on the blockchain so that the future of NFTs is healthy.”
Unique Network fills the void for developers and supporters of the Polkadot and Kusama chains -- with a “scalable blockchain solution that supports composable NFTs with advanced economies” according to their site.
We interviewed Alex Mitrovich, on the state of NFTs and how his project is addressing future needs for scalability and interoperability.
Specifically, I am an entrepreneur in the tech space and have been so for the past 20 years. I understand tech without being a developer. I understand the opportunities.
I see the power of the emerging community, the beauty of the Web 3 Foundation, and the endless flexibility of Substate as a building block.
It also harnesses the benefits of other chains in its unique parachain approach. I don’t believe in being a pioneer who wants their own particular blockchain to dominate the world. I believe in a philosophy of collaboration in a decentralized world where everyone can thrive.
I don’t want to work on a blockchain which only has two software upgrades a year and which are not backward-compatible. It makes no sense – it’s like old mainframe development. On PolkaDot there are seamless upgrades every week, sometimes several times a week.
I want to work on a blockchain that keeps improving every day.
Web 1.0 was good for fungible assets, data, emails, etc. For social media like Facebook, you needed Web 2.0. And for NFTs you need Web 3.0 and a powerful, flexible blockchain which for me is PolkaDot.
If you are doing static NFTs as collectibles then you can use most of the blockchains [already available]. People collect a range of things – coins, stamps, books – so why not NFTs? It’s a great hobby and people are very passionate about their collections. But collections are a very small part of the role that NFTs can play.
Unique digital assets can be moving objects, live objects, real estate, cars, so many things. We are only at the beginning of this journey.
Gaming is also a big part of the picture and along with NFTs has the potential to drive mass adoption. Gaming and gamers are already online, however, most gamers play in a freemium model, where they begin playing for free. 90% are mobile and 100% are freemium. If gamers really like the game, then might choose to buy stuff or invest in a subscription. In fact, Minecraft might be the only popular game to break this rule.
The difficulty for gaming on the blockchain is that the user has to pay for transaction fees, even if they are small. So economically and psychologically this is a barrier. In fact, Dapper Labs and NBA Top Shots did a great job removing this barrier but doing it seamlessly under the hood.
Transaction fees play a role in securing the blockchain and eliminating bots and other unwanted behavior, but there needs to be a way to remove them. Unless you are building on Ethereum or Bitcoin, no one is looking at transaction fees as a revenue stream.
So, fees are only going to slow down any uptake or growth by acting as gatekeepers. It’s only when the games are truly popular that fees might kick in as a reward.
Everything is new. The land is open and free. You just need to find your land and start building. And success for me is to find land that suits me and that I can quickly turn into something that produces food for everybody else.
Since its launch in January 2021, Unique Network has come a long way in showing the value of its platform and its new marketplace. The Unique Marketplace was first unveiled in May.
Blockchain projects like Subsocial have integrated the white-labeled solution and a line of 10,000 Substrate-NFTs was launched along with the new marketplace.
Unique Network and RMRK are developing an NFT universe through a collaboration with RMRK’s first NFT collection, Kanaria. The intrinsic design of this collection enables each NFT to grow and upgrade over time, the NFTs will first begin as eggs that hatch into unique and rare Kanaria birds, which evolve with the platforms around them.
The Kanaria birds will offer additional benefits to holders including permanent platform benefits and entitle owners to a fair drop of $RMRK tokens.
It is difficult to stand out in such a crowded marketplace, but given the enthusiasm from all quarters regarding NFT art and collectibles, platforms like Unique Network could have a bright future by helping creators to make, sell, and trade NFTs with a greater level of interoperability. Working cross-chain allows projects to leverage the unique capabilities of popular platforms and allows them to tap into new audiences with the enthusiastic adherents of each platform.